tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 6, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
embraces people of numerous religions and faiths, and i be lieve that those who know our history can and should learn from it, and those who do not know our history are bound to re peat it. so i testify i testified a number of times in congress. i testify a lot. the committee that it testify before most is probably the house homeland security committee. committeehat the holds its hearings in the same room with a house on american
activities committee used to hold its hearings. in 1939 there was a man in harold s. johnson who testified. in the height of the red scare, he denied he was a member of the communist party and went on to give an impassioned statement aret how american negroes patriotic americans. that those who seek a change in arepolicy or way of life not against the government itself. that man was my grandfather. [applause] know theiron't history are bound to repeat it. thank you all for participating in this very important mission.
thank you for service to your country, to your countries in this effort. we, at the department of homeland security, look forward to continue to work with you on this very important project. thank you all very much. [applause] mr. secretary, unlikely opening-day pitches, today you through a 100 mile an hour fastball right on the plate. -- write down the plate. -- right down the plate. thank you very much. [applause] cincinnati.com writes that governor john kasich is taking a break from his presidential campaign to give the ohio state
of the state address tonight. he will speak to the legislature and the city of marietta and southeastern ohio. democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton is scheduled to speak in a couple minutes at carnegie mellon university in pittsburgh. that is ahead of the presidential primary on may 26. is gettingge underway very shortly on c-span3. live coverage is donald trump campaigns in new york. he is in the town of bethpage on long island. this month. we showcase our student cam winners. this year's theme is road to the white house. students were asked, what issues
do you want presidential candidates to discuss? these students want presidential candidates to discuss lowering the voting age to 16 in their vote,titled, "lower the raise america." >> one of the biggest problems today is the lack of political participation. 2012, only 58 point 6% of eligible voters participated in the election. the abysmal turnout should be on the forefront of political debates. in 1971, the 26th amendment
expanded voting rights to those over the age of 18. 17,ver, those aged 16 and 2.60% of the population, are still underrepresented. more than 8 million people. lowering the voting age to 16 will expand democracy, increase political participation and foster a generation of habitual voters. in the united states, takoma park, maryland was the first u.s. city to lower its voting age. in presidential elections, takoma park has a very high turnout. in city elections, the turnout is closer to city elections. >> it is horrible turnout. people do not know there is an election. so, it is really hard to engage
voters in that setting. in 2013, the city councilman proposed legislation to lower the voting age to boost local participation. >> the idea of 16-year-old-17-year-olds voting came up one we were looking for ideas and scotland was considering a referendum and it became an idea where we said, "why not. said, why not? >> the political landscape has undergone positive changes in the decision. >> i can see there is definitely a segment of young people who feel more engaged, who are interested in local politics, and the working of our city government. >> elections opened to 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds impacted the youth
electorate. >> it is fun to be a part of the big decision. it is about habit-forming and seeing that you are participating and your community participating and continuing to have a voice. at 18ing the voting limit has negative drawbacks in itself. >> if you are 18, moving somewhere new, trying to vote absentee back home, you are less connected to the issues, to the area, to the candidates running. if you're 16, you are more likely to have stable roots in the community and that allows you to care more and be more focused and be more interested about what is happening in the local area. >> the national youth rights association argues that people should have a voice on the issues that affect them personally. >> it is amazing how much of the
debate is about education, testing,common core, and people are not involved in the discussion because they do not have the right to vote. >> starting voting earlier has benefits in the long run, as well as immediate results. >> the research finds that you life thatlier in your you cast your first ballot, the more likely you are to make it a habit the rest of your life. >> the argument against voting age is that people are -- teenagers are too immature or unknowledgeable about politics. >> there is nothing magic about the year of 18. i do not think anyone can say that 18-year-olds can make decisions and a 16-year-olds cannot. i think the age groups are similar. >> in our city of takoma park, it has been shown that lowering the voting age helps to raise turnout in local elections.
and it involves youth in politics. the voting aged gives teens a at 16 gives age teens a chance to start voting at a convenient time and place. >> i think it is a problem and democracy depends on participation and activism is part of the democratic society. >> it is an idea that a lot of people are going to think about. it may be on a small scale at first. then it could very well take off. it could make a substantial difference. >> lowering the voting age will improve the political system, and is an issue that should be addressed by presidential candidates in the 2016 campaign. >> to watch all of the prize-winning documentaries and the winners of this year's competition, visit student
cam.org. >> the house is in the middle of a three-week break. in the meantime, members meet with constituents in their home districts. democrat jim mcgovern tweets, glad to visit lynwood mill apartments in northbridge and support central mass affordable housing. and another, at spring arbor coffee -- cafe this morning for coffee hour. it was my 20th coffee hour this year. peterneff and your -- ger said that his agency relies on local officials to prevent terror attacks on subway and railway systems around the country. we will show you as much as we can at this hearing before we
bring you live coverage of governor john kasich with his ohio state of the state address at 7:00. >> we will get this hearing underway come up and let me start i welcoming -- by welcoming administrator neffenger here today. march 22nd, terrorists associated with isis detonated three bombs at a brussels airport. fourople, including americans were killed in this attack. the victims of these attacks remain in our thoughts and prayers. the threat from isis, al qaeda, and sympathizers is real and we we must ensure policies are in place to prevent these attacks. this hearing will focus on the efforts of the transportation security administration to secure surface transportation modes. in light of the attacks in
brussels, we will also address related challenges safeguarding the areas of airports outside of passenger screening checkpoints. administrator neffenger, i understand you were by chance in the brussels airport at the time of the attacks and i hope that you will share your thoughts on the horrific events and how we can prepare for similar threats. i understand your written testimony focuses on rail transit and pipeline security i hope you will share with us additional information on how we can improve airport security. tsa must learn from past attacks and look forward to new and emerging threats. sadly it is clear that terrorists associated with al qaeda have identified rail systems as soft targets. it is critical we cannot neglect these parts of our system as we look for ways to improve security. understandably, these open systems cannot be secured in the same way as aviation network. nevertheless, some of the techniques we utilize in the aviation network apply to surface assets. as well, areas of the airport on the street side of the checkpoint.
while our best tool in combating terrorist attacks continues to be good intelligence. , tsa has adopted a process to identify threats and mitigate security concerns. former administrator john pistol promoted the risk-based allocation of tsa resources. i look forward to hearing from the administrators about his views on the risk-based analysis. tsa cannot and should not be at every bus stop or train station. the agency must leverage its relationship with state and local officials and address the most significant threats with limited resources. visible security efforts can make a difference. explosive detection canines and police presence can deter criminal activity. tsa support of these programs is invaluable. i would like to hear more about how these teams are allocated among airports and other transportation system. tsa is charged with protecting freight transportation networks including ports, freight railroads and pipeline infrastructure. these infrastructure networks
are crucial components of our nation's economy. tsa receives high marks from pipeline operators who work with the agency to identify and mitigate threats. public-private security partnerships between the agency and operators have been valuable in hardening these networks. on the aviation front, ranking member nelson and i have been leading oversight -- managing security credentials. this oversight led the committee to approve bipartisan legislation senate bill 2361. the airport security enhancement and oversight act, a tightened vetting of airport workers at those with ties to terrorists do not access sensitive airport areas. in the current system, such individuals are not always captured. some of the perpetrators in the deadly attacks in brussels or previously known to authorities as criminals. u.s. terrorism experts believe isis is recruiting criminals to join its ranks in europe. as we work to address the threat
of an aviation insider helping terrorists, criminals who break laws for financial gain and those with histories of violence are good place to start. ensuring that airport workers with security credentials are trustworthy is important considering an isis affiliate is believed to have killed 224 people on a russian passenger plane leaving egypt with experts experts suspect, the health of -- the help of an airport employee. the committee has approved the tsa pre-check expansion act that would expand participation of the tsa pre-check application program by developing private sector partnerships and capabilities to enroll more individuals. more vetted passengers would receive expedited screening which would get passengers through checkpoints more quickly and ensure that they do not pose the kind of easy target that isis suicide bombers exploited at the brussels airport. i believe both of these important measures can and should advance in the full senate this week.
thank you for being here today. when each strong leadership and decisive action to address this terrorist threat. you're faced with a great challenge of getting it right every time when a terrorist just needs one opportunity. i look forward to hearing from you about how tsa is working to meet that challenge. i would like to recognize ranking member senator nelson for his opening statement. sen. nelson: thank you mr. chairman. in the last 10 years, right after 9/11, 1900 attacks were carried out against transit systems around the world, resulting in 4000 deaths and 14,000 injuries.
in aviation, almost 15 years after 9/11, terrorists are still finding those vulnerabilities which the chairman has noted. we have two types of vulnerabilities before us. the vulnerability of the perimeter of the airport, which was addressed in legislation passed last year, sponsored by the two members at the front of the dais. airport security perimeter that allows the egyptian airport because of an airport employee to sneak a bomb on. same thing with the gunrunning scheme in atlanta. two years ago. unbelievably over three months 153 firearms were smuggled onto 17 flights.
that was in december, the last quarter of 2014. so we address that and this committee in the airport security enhancement and hopefully, that is going to be to attached to the faa bill. we have this additional security problem. that is where passengers are bunched up in a soft area, like the queued up lines going through tsa. like the crowded lines at an airport check-in counter. like the lines in a bus or train station. where people are all huddled up trying to get through the security.
in 2016, less than 2% of tsa post total budget and full-time employees are dedicated to protecting surface transportation networks. the bus, the trains, etc. while we have yet to suffer a recent attack on a mass transit system in the u.s., brussels is just another reminder of what they did in the transit station there. tsa can take immediate action by completing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, which were enacted into law in 2007. additionally, we have an opportunity to improve the law coming up in this current faa bill, with regard to the soft targets outside of the security
perimeter. it is time to re-examine our transportation strategy and refocus our efforts. mr. administrator, we thank you for being here today and look forward to it. sen. thune: administrator neffenger, thank you for being here and we look forward to hearing your opening remarks and we will look forward to asking you some questions. please proceed. mr. neffenger: thank you. good morning chairman thune . tsa's critical mission to ensure the safety of our transportation systems. let me add my condolences and those of all professionals at -- associated with the victims
of the attacks. i was at the brussels airport at the day of the bombings. i was there for meetings with a number of european counterparts. we arrived as the bombs detonated. being there on that day, seeing the devastation, seeing the chaos of the airport environment and the evil behind it was a reminder of the importance of the work that we do at tsa everyday to protect travelers. i have been on the job for nine months now and when i arrived i was confronted with the results of the inspector general's covert testing and found an organization in crisis. i found an organization of newly nearly 50,000 dedicated professionals committed to national security. it was clear to me that while we needed to tackle what was wrong the ingredients in the commitment were there to build and evolve what was right. we have come a long way. we determined the root causes of testing failures. we have retrained our workforce, established the first ever full-time tsa academy. we have begun a deep examination of processes and practices
across the agency. there are challenges we must continue to address both immediate and longer-term but i can assure you in the public that we serve we are focused on our counterterrorism mission and are committed to delivering excellence in every aspect of what we do. as an integral member of a larger counterterrorism network, employees arrange -- tsa has a range of capabilities. to deter, detect and disrupt potential enemies. at our checkpoints we screen on average of 2 million passengers each day at nearly 440 airports. to improve, we are investing heavily in our workforce. all of our people are trained with a better understanding of why we did what we do and the nature of the threats we face. we are focused to security effectiveness and have instituted copperheads of training at the new tsa academy at the federal law enforcement training center in georgia. an academy that has already helped to build a connection to our mission, enhance morale, and ensure employees better understand the role in fighting terrorism. recent attacks remind us that terrorist organizations remain committed to attacking the
global transportation system. at present, we have no credible intelligence to conduct a similar plot in the united states but we must remain vigilant. to inspect and assess compliance with international standards and to build international capacity in securing passenger and cargo flights down to the united -- flight bound to the united states. attacks in brussels further highlight the imperative to dress security beyond airport checkpoints. that is where our shared responsibility with ours makes a difference. we work with federal, state, local, and travel partners to provide law enforcement presence throughout airports and surface transportation hubs throughout the nation. the resources of countless agencies to deliver thousands of to secure our transportation network. tsa's officer reimbursement program provides across really -- provides approximately $45 million each year to law-enforcement agencies for enhanced law enforcement presence. tsa deploys visible intermodal prevention and response teams of
integrated tsa and local specialists to patrol public areas to provide a visible deterrent and response area capability. we are focused on the insider threat posed by employees with access to transportation facilities and infrastructure. in collaboration with stakeholders, including the aviation security advisory committee, we have taken a number of actions to enhance security including requiring enhanced reference check of aviation workers, piloting the -- which continuous criminal background checks in conducting and nationwide vulnerability assessment airport by airport to create an expectation that every employee could be stopped and inspected every day. securing surface transportation systems is a complex undertaking that requires collaboration among operators. we support these owners and operators in threat awareness, information sharing, identification of vulnerabilities, development of security programs to address risk, exercises to assess and improve readiness, and the
implementation of enhanced security programs. they in turn invest millions of their own funds to maintain and enhance system security. recent attacks remind us that the threat to transportation is real and that our work to ensure freedom and protect our nation is never done. while challenges remain i can confidently tell you we at tsa are on the job and focused on protecting the public. i will end with a note about the summer travel. the good news is a strong economy means more people than ever are traveling. economic health places pressure on our transportation systems. in my written testimony, we have identified the steps taken to to hire,we are taking train, and field a frontline workforce and collaborate with airports to expect the high volume of travel this summer. traveler security comes first and we cannot compromise on protecting travelers. the expected volume means there will be longer waits during peak and travelers need to be
prepared. we will continue to identify ways to immediately improve efficiency without compromising security. thank you for your continued support and advocacy for tsa and the men and women on tsa's frontlines and look over to your -- look forward to your questions. sen. thune: thank you administrator neffenger. as you mentioned, and of course you were there, the brussels attack was directed at aviation infrastructure. it was not just an attack on that. it was also the metro cars between stations that killed 13 people and injured a lot more. rail and transit are open systems, much like the nonsterile areas of airports and could easily be perceived as soft targets. how have you communicated with surface transportation operators about the potential for a brussels-like attack on a u.s. transportation system? and do you believe the transit systems and passenger railroad in particular are prepared for an attack like the tragic events in brussels?
mr. neffenger: thank you for that question. that is a question that has been on everyone's minds. certainly since the brussels attacks. it has been on our minds for a long time. it is one of the fundamental questions we have asked ourselves across the surface transportation world for a number of years. i will tell you it starts with good intelligence. as you know from the briefing that we gave this committee earlier this month, there is an extensive network of intelligence professionals focused on transportation threats on all modes of transportation. it begins with an assessment of what we think current threats are, who the potential groups are that would deliver those threats, and more importantly, who the individuals are that might be moving through the system that might provide a particular threat. the next step is to identify on her abilities and we work closely with ash identify vulnerabilities and we work closely with partners. i spent quite a bit of time meeting with transit police
chiefs, transit authority directors, to look at the types of systems we have in place. i have been encouraged by what i've seen. there is an extensive network of law enforcement professionals arrayed across the system that really leverage the investment we make from tsa to establish a very high level of security standards across the system. an awareness of what's going on. a great deal of shared intelligence and a lot of sharing of best practices. we help facilitate many of the groups and teams that get together to do that. any open system is, by definition, at risk. i think there is a great deal being done to ensure that we reduce that risk and understand how that risk might present itself. sen. thune: just as a follow-up to that, less than 2% of the president's budget request for tsa was directed to the security
of surface transportation. we understand the threats to the aviation sector are very real. do you believe in terms of the resource allocation that tsa is doing enough to ensure the security of passengers on railroads and transit systems? mr. neffenger: i think we have been able to leverage thousands of professionals across the country. you have some superb local and state law enforcement entities that are doing work in that sector. whether it is the amtrak police, the new york city transit police, the new jersey transit police, and so forth -- there are more that i can mention. i think if you are asking an operator if he will put more resources to use, yes i would. what i would do is, i would put them to use in support of those entities that are doing really good efforts. we coordinate with them, integrate our teams with their teams. we work to increase our ability to understand what might be
happening out there. understand the threats and vulnerabilities and sharing that information in a way that allows us to deploy resources most effectively. sen. thune: yesterday, homeland security secretary johnson endorsed a new proposal by senate democrats to double the number of visible intervention -- visible intermodal prevention and response teams nationwide from 30 to 60. by contrast, the president's fiscal year 2016 budget request called for the elimination of two viper teams and 23 related positions. in your written testimony, you programt tsa's viper which operates in aviation and surface transportation then use has updated its concept of operations to focus on risk-based deployments. the question is, have the events of the last two months as the budget was released convinced the administration that doubling of the viper program is needed to address current threats? mr. neffenger: i appreciate the attention congress is giving to tsa resources.
if i were to receive more viper teams, i would be able to put them to use and i would put them to use across the transportation system. i would be able to deploy them more effectively with our partners in the surface world and would deploy them to more public areas of our aviation environment. sen. thune: let me ask one last question. in the past year and a half, we have seen repeated abuses of airport badges that grant workers access to secure areas of the airport. badges that are used by airport and airline workers to bypass tsa screening checkpoints and facilitate criminal activities like gun and drug smuggling. these incidents have raised questions about whether our airports are vulnerable to an insider threat. as i mentioned earlier in response, along with our committee members senator
nelson, ayotte, cantwell, johnson will introduce the oversight act to counter some of these insider threats by improving the vetting and inspections of airport workers. do you think it is important to update and expand criminal background checks and random inspections of airport workers that have access to secure areas of an airport? mr. neffenger: thank you for that question. that has been a big concern over the time that i have been here. as i came in, it was on the heels of the incident in atlanta and some other concerns. as you noted in your opening statement, we have had those concerns with respect to the attacks overseas. i am pleased and happy that congress has given us the support that they have. i think you are right to focus on that. i know this committee in particular was supportive of our access to
additional type categories. that has made a huge difference for us in terms of recurrent vetting. i would like to see us implement the fbi program at the end of this fiscal year so we can do criminal vetting. anything we can do to heighten the insight of the population to verify trusted status is worth doing. sen. thune: thank you. sen. nelson: mr. chairman, i want to take the opportunity particularly to tell our democratic members of the committee that apparently we just received word that there has been an agreement on the tax issue. therefore, if that is true, when we get to the floor in just 35 minutes, it looks like we are going to be able to proceed without that controversy that previously we had known about. we ought to be able to get on the bill. i want to piggyback on a couple of the points raised by the chairman.
the gunrunning scheme showed tremendous vulnerability, especially 300 airports in the country. lo and behold, only to true up to that point had done a perimeter security where they had reduced to a handful the number of entry points and had the adequate checking of badges to make sure the airport employee was who they said they were. as well as checking in one of the machines the stuff that they brought in. things that were not done in atlanta that allowed over 100 guns to be transported. and then theort
employee goes up to the sterile area, into the men's restroom, and transfers the weapons to a passenger who has come through security. atlanta has now complied. so that is atlanta, miami, orlando. what about the rest of the 297 airports nationwide? mr. neffenger: senator, i have exactly the same question. it was a wake-up call for atlanta. as you noted, they put in a lot of measures in place. sen. nelson: what about the other 297? mr. neffenger: earlier this year i ordered a detailed vulnerability assessment across the system for those other airports you mentioned. the results of that assessment are coming in this month. the purpose of that assessment was to answer that specific question. first and foremost, what have you done? but secondly, what is the nature
population? er sen. nelson: what is the answer? mr. neffenger: there has been a lot of movement in terms of reducing security access points across the system. a lot of movement to greatly enhance the oversight of that insider population by tsa as well as by the employers. sen. nelson: a lot of movement. such as? mr. neffenger: what i'm going to have to provide to you in a report, once we evaluate all of these in that is going to drive us to add requirements into the aviation security, airport security plans for you to those airports to take the best practices we're finding from miami, from orlando, from atlanta, and to drive those into other ports across the country. -- other airports across the country. i was concerned we had not had a lot of specifics on that. sen. nelson: the best practices are obvious. you have to check the airport employees. is your testimony today that nothing has been done? mr. neffenger: that is not my testimony. we have done quite a bit. we are checking. tsa itself has increased the
number of inspections of employees by fivefold in the past five months. we do that ourselves. sen. nelson: you don't have enough resources. you have to get the airports to do it. mr. neffenger: and they are doing that. sen. nelson: give us the report. mr. neffenger: that is coming your way. i wanted to give you good specifics from the vulnerability assessments we conducted so i could give you specific answers airport by airport to the question you're asking. those are all do this week. the deadline for getting those in. we will compile that report and get into the committee. sen. nelson: why couldn't that have been done in time to report to this committee since that was such an obvious question that you are going to be asked? mr. neffenger: the answer i would have to that is, i did not have, i felt, adequate specifics to satisfy this committee on the specific measures taken. we went back and i ordered a specific vulnerability assessment airport by airport.
it was done on a short timeframe in conjunction with the recommendations from the aviation security advisory committee and done in a way that ensured i could give very specific answers. specific direction with respect to requirements. that said, we have enhanced the oversight and airports have enhanced their oversight already. i wanted to know exactly what has been done so that we can ensure consistency across the entire system. sen. nelson: you have a sterile, sterling reputation. it is not sterile, it is sterling. a sterling reputation. but that is an insufficient answer in a problem that has been begging for two years. the only person that is going to get the airports off their duff to limit the acces into their
airportss is going to be you and your administration. i realize that you can say you have a specific jurisdiction of requiring security checks on who's going on the plane, but what about the stuff that may be going on the plane, which is getting at the same thing? therefore, you have to go to a different perimeter. mr. neffenger: we do that. i'm sorry if i've given the impression that nothing is happening. we have greatly enhanced our oversight at screening facilities, catering facilities. quite a few measures that have been put in place. i will provide an outline for the record.
it is oversight of the caterers, catering facilities, the way in which they inspect catering cards come oversight of the cargo. the multiple steps at which we are now inspect cargo that was not done before. the amount of security perimeter checks being done that were not before. reduction in the security perimeter entrances into each of those airports that are covered by airport security plans. a lot has been done. what i was referring to was, i wanted to give a specific detail of that to you airport by airport. i went back and asked for more detail so i could outline it specifically and move that into the required security plans in an official and directed way. sen. nelson: i will just close, mr. chairman by saying this. it is simple. you lessen the number of entry points, like atlanta had over 100, down to a handful. and you check the employees going through. you cannot do that just as tsa.
you have to get the airports to do that. and that is the report that we want to know in our oversight capacity. how many airports of the 300 following the lead of miami, which did it 10 years ago, have done this? to watch so that something like egypt and the russian airliner does not happen here. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. thune: i think it points out the need for senatbill 2361 which i hope we can move. as you can tell, this is an issue that we screen passengers getting on planes but there are so many examples of airport workers with badges that are committing criminal act. this is an area i think we have to shore up. senator ayotte. senator ayotte: i want to add
that i hope that the faa reauthorization on the floor that we will get the airport security enhancement and oversight act perhaps added to that because i think it makes a lot of sense to do that in light of some of the concerns we have in this committee and the broad support in this committee for that bill. i wanted to follow-up on this issue as well on the angle of we know that one of the things that came to light that was of deep
concern as we thought about the airport workforce was that there were 73 individuals that the inspector general had identified with reported some ties to terrorism or issues of concern. as a result of that, we learned that in fact tsa was not getting access to the real-time information from the data to help inform your vetting of these employees that were having access to the airport. i wanted to get an update on where we are in terms of you getting access to the information that you need, not only as senator nelson has identified, the materials being brought to make sure people are inspected, but what information you have access to that you know about these individuals that have access at the airport that your average person does not have. mr. neffenger: thank you for the question. as i noted earlier, this committee was very supportive in asking for that access. i am pleased to report that we now have access to all of the categories that we need to ensure that we are vetting people against those tied categories and that has allowed us to more effectively screen the credential population on a daily basis. sen. ayotte: that is going smoothly? mr. neffenger: it is.
sen. ayotte: i'm glad to hear that. i wanted to ask about a bill that congress passed in december of 2014. i also serve on the homeland security committee. this bill was one that i supported, the transportation security acquisition reform act. legislation that required tsa to implement best practices and improve transparency with regard to technology acquisition programs because there have been a number of difficulties, challenges, and failed programs that have not come to fruition that prompted congress to pass this bill. i wanted to get an update on where you were in terms of greater accountability on tsa's acquisition practices as well today. mr. neffenger: that is of particular interest of mine as well. i had dealt with acquisition reform in the coast guard before coming to tsa. i wanted to pay attention to the
way in which we conducted acquisitions. one of the first things i did when i came on board last july was to ask the defense acquisition university to come and do a top to bottom review of our acquisition program and the way in which we conduct them, looking for any gaps or improvement we could make. they have provided that report to me. to them about 4.5 months to do that. i am pleased with that report. we are comparing those requirements against the requirements of the acquisition reform act and making improvements as we go. i have a report we are compiling now for the committee that will show the steps we can take that will dramatically improve our accountability, our oversight, as well as the ability, field capability when we need it. sen. ayotte: obviously that is the key because a lot of the work report was feeling capability. and of spending dollars with no
result. i would love for us to receive that report so that we can understand where we stand with it and what further action we can support you on to really improve the acquisition process. that is critical as you think about your mission and making sure that we have everything functioning with our security system. i also wanted to ask about the managed inclusion issue. as i understand it, and i'm pleased that this has happened, that you have discontinued management inclusion, too? which is i think very smart and logical in light of the purpose of your agency and security concerns. i just wanted to follow-up. the app that was being used that came under some criticism was an app that i understand this app essentially -- some
reports said it was $1.4 million -- you do not need this anymore now that you have discontinued the managed inclusion to. mr. neffenger: we are not using that app. sen. ayotte: an example where maybe we should not have purchased that? mr. neffenger: i looked at that. there was a lot more involved in that contract. an ibm contract from 2013. that 1.4 million covered quite a few components. the actual app was somewhere in the thousands. sen. ayotte: we did not need it. mr. neffenger: nonetheless it is not an app we are using anymore. what i will tell you is, i have great concern over the way in which we are spending contracting dollars, acquisition money. it's why i did a complete review
of the acquisition program. i think we can build more controls and more process improvements so that i can get capability out there at the lowest cost to the taxpayer which produces things we really need. sen. ayotte: i appreciate this. as we think about the things we do need to do at our airports that require resources and so not to waste resources on things we don't need. mr. neffenger: i could not agree more. sen. thune: senator cantwell. senator cantwell: thank you mr. neffenger. many of us participated in a closed-door briefing that you gave us prior to the brussels attack and i thought it was a poignant briefing. even post brussels i think there probably is important to do another one of those. maybe in conjunction with homeland security, or separate, as the focus on
continue.eeds to i want to ask, i come from a border state and a lot of traffic moves between the u.s. and canada. we have always held the position that we have to have incredible security. one of our border agents caught the millennial bomber on his way to the united states to blow up lax or whatever his mission was. a customs border person call that individual. we are well aware of security but we are also very aware of efficiency. we need both. we know that as a border state. the amount of slowdown. my point is that seatac is the fastest-growing hub in the country and has experienced growth rates of 7% in 2014. we have had this map for planning which was to handle 19 million passengers. last year we had 42 million passengers. we have a plan for 19. we just had 42. we have a problem at seatac. my first question is, will you
allow for localized regional training? part of the issue is with this new requirement of tsa officer training systems where people are going -- in georgia. you have allowed other airports to do regional training. we are about to hit spring and summer. we have cruise ships that greatly impact the flow in the northwest. with you allow for localized training so that those individuals can be trained? what information sharing do you think we now need to do? you know we were successful in getting the cantwell collins bill, to move customs security to overseas airports and that allowed us to do -- fully supportive of that and we are glad we got that in the customs bill. what else do we need to do?
are you for the machine reading sharing, helping those airport facilities have better machine capabilities? what lists should we share? i would assume being the past role in the coast guard, the coast guard dogs have played a significant role in protecting our ferry system. you think we should be making a larger investment in that? that is a lot to answer. i do have concerns about this app. i think he do coalition of -- i think that you need a coalition of constant input on how to get efficiency -- paying this much for an app -- if you will focus on those first questions. mr. neffenger: with respect to the training, we are going to do local training. at seatac. we will address that. we have to mitigate what is going to be a challenging summer
season by pushing as many new hires as we can into the system. erecting them to the airports of greatest need. seatac is one of those. ensuring we are working with local airports and airlines that service those airports to identify the most efficient means of moving a three -- of moving it through. sen. cantwell: thank you for that. mr. neffenger: as we build capacity in training centers so that we don't have to do this in the future. with respect to seattle, i will be out there next week meeting with the airport director and local officials as well to look at the issues and see how well this is going. i have been trying to do this with each of the major airports around the country. with respect to other resources we might need, it falls into a catery of people training and technology. i am interested in the way we do acquisition because i need to evolve my technology faster than the threat is evolving and i think there are things we can do
to ensure that happens. training, i want to continue to build tsa academy so i can train people to do what they do. sen. cantwell: i'll have 20 seconds. are you from our list and the -- are you for more list sharing and machine sharing with our overseas partners? mr. neffenger: i am. sen. cantwell: this is something the committee needs to spend a lot of time on so thank you. sen. thune: thank you senator cantwell. good points. senator mccaskill. senator mccaskill: we have spent an awful lot of time and money and energy focusing on the security of our aviation and airports. i am not critical of that whatsoever. there remains a gaping hole in our security which has to do with foreign repair stations. i don't think most americans realize -- i have been talking about this and 2007. 2007.ut this since congress wanted tsa to do security roles applicable to foreign repair situations.
it took 10 years but we got a rule in 2014. there are shared jurisdictions here. faa is supposed to be certifying the safety of the foreign repair stations. you are supposed to be certifying and overseeing the security of foreign repair stations. think most americans know that almost every domestic plane they overhauled,are for, and repaired in foreign repair stations. including foreign repair stations in countries that are listed by the state department as countries that can be a haven for terrorists. i don't understand, since we have been talking about this since 2007 since i came to the senate, charity hearing on this in 2007, that the rule that you issued did not require background checks of people who work in foreign repair stations. there is no perimeter security at foreign repair stations. no alcohol and drug testing at foreign repair stations.
we have one standard for machinists and others who work on airplanes in the united states but if you want to take those jobs overseas, all of a sudden, it is like a sieve. i am grateful that there has not been an incident but i cannot imagine why your agency -- i know you have not been there, but i cannot imagine why in this rule, there would not be background checks of people working in countries like egypt on airplanes that are flying around the world. mr. neffenger: i recently spoke to the aircraft repair association. they had one of their meetings here in the last couple of months. we talked about the role and we talked about what we would do. all of those people hold faa credentials which means they are vetted by us every day through terror screening databases and vet them against criminal databases as well.
we vet them against combined terror screening database that looks at all of the people of interest around the world. senator mccaskill: right when you are hired as a mechanic on domestic american airlines and you are working on a plane in egypt, you have a background check before you get on the premises? mr. neffenger: i cannot speak to exactly -- to what exactly every individual employer does. if you apply for credential from the faa, we are going to screen you before you can get that credential and we will determine whether or not you could be issued that credential. in my opinion, that is the last step before you were actually hired before you connect we work on an aircraft that belongs to a u.s. flight carrier. senator mccaskill: i would be thrilled to be proven wrong on this, but it is my impression that you can get into these facilities and get near airplanes without a background check right now.
it is also my understanding -- who is inspecting these facilities? who is physically going to the philippines and egypt? mr. neffenger: tsa does. we have our aviation inspector cadre and they make regular rounds to gauge of these locations to ensure that they are complying with standards. senator mccaskill: i would love to see the schedule. i know if you had a repair station in the united states, there was an faa person almost on-site. when i did this hearing before , most of this was being done by phone. they were not physically going to the facilities. so if that has changed i would be really thrilled to hear that. i would love to know how often we are inspecting and i would like to know -- at the point in time we looked at this before there was no effort made on
perimeter security at these facilities in these other countries. americans are upset about jobs going overseas. i understand this is a global economy and we can't put a gun to companies heads and say you must keep jobs in america. on the other hand, if we have certain standards for safety and security for our flying public and the responsibility lies with your agency and the faa to make sure that the standards are just as rigorous, without a foreign agreement being in the way, they need to be just as rigorous in the locations where people are working on these airplanes on foreign soil. my sense is that has not been the case so if you have information that will reassure me in that regard as to inspections, the ability of somebody to get on the premises and near airplanes, the ability tax lien work hands-on on an airplane, it you can assure me of the thoroughness of that, 10 years to make the rule without -- was not a confidence builder for me. i would like to be reassured that we are in a better place than we were when we started down this road when i arrived in the senate. mr. neffenger: let me get you a
fuller answer. senator mccaskill: thank you very much. senator thune: senator hiller? senator hiller: that you mr. chairman. i want to thank the administrator for being here to answer our questions. i want to go to this allocation of personnel and as a couple questions. when was the last time that you flew into the las vegas airport? mr. neffenger: it has not been since i have been administrator. within the last year. senator hiller: would you agree it is one of the busiest airports in the world? mr. neffenger: it is a very fast-growing airport and you have seen some huge growth in passenger volume. senator hiller: 3.4 passengers going through mccarran in
february of this year -- 3.4 million passengers going through mccarran in february of this year. we will continue to see this growth. can you explain to me why tsa reduced the number of agents at that airport by 110? mr. neffenger: i got that report and we have increased the allocation so i'm not sure how that information presented. i went back and checked because i was concerned by the same number. what i found is that we have increased staffing allocation. we had some attrition that we have to backfield. sometimes it takes us a while to get people hired again. let me get you the exact numbers. i think if i laid it out i think i can see why that report was there. we have higher attrition rates in some locations than i would like to see and sometimes it takes time to backfill those positions. i don't believe we have reduced the numbers. let me get you what i saw for numbers. senator heller: it was promised that they would maintain 10 k-9 units at that airport. today, there is only one. one that is actually borrowed. can you explain to me why there is a lack of the k-9 units promised to the airport?